CFP Im/mortality and In/finitude in the Anthropocene

CALL FOR PAPERS

Im/mortality and In/finitude in the Anthropocene
Perspectives from the Environmental Humanities

Environmental Humanities Laboratory
Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
2-4 December 2014

Conference Website

‘The aim of this symposium, then, is to explore the shifting relationships between time, mortality and finitude in the context of the Anthropocene. In particular, we are interested in the kinds of critical approaches to time-telling, knowledge-making and care-taking that might be called for by way of response. How might we ‘learn to be affected’ (Despret) in new ways; how might practices of ‘passionate immersion’ create new avenues for hope, care and knowledge (Tsing; Haraway)?’

Posted in Academic, Conference, Ecocriticism, Graduate | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Final Call for Papers-11th Annual Irish Theatrical Diaspora Conference

REMINDER – FINAL CALL FOR PAPERS

 

11th Annual Irish Theatrical Diaspora Conference

 

Centre for Irish Studies, Charles University, Prague

 

12-13 September 2014

 

Irish Theatre and Central Europe

 

 

The conference aims to discuss the relations between theatre in Ireland and a broadly defined region of Central Europe. Principal themes include the reception of Irish theatre and drama in Central Europe; theatre and drama from Central Europe on Irish stages; links between theatres, playwrights and practitioners from the respective geographical areas; the history, practice and politics of drama translation.

 

The deadline for proposals (max. 250 words) along with an affiliation, email address and a brief bio, is 30 March 2014; proposals should be sent to Dr Ondřej Pilný at ondrej.pilny@volny.cz. The conference organizers welcome applications from scholars at any stage of their career, and particularly encourage graduate students to submit proposals. Please note that as the two-day conference can accommodate only up to 20 papers, the organizers are unable to guarantee the acceptance of all proposals. Delegates will be notified of the acceptance of their presentation by 1 May 2014.

 

Plenary Speakers will include Małgorzata Semil (Warsaw), Michael Raab (Frankfurt a.M.), Lászlo Upor (Budapest) and Tilman Raabke (Oberhausen).

 

Scholarship for ITD 2014

The Irish Theatrical Diaspora Network is making available a scholarship for any Ireland-based post-graduate or unwaged post-doctoral student who wishes to deliver a paper at the 2014 conference. The scholarship will reimburse the cost of transportation to the event, up to a maximum of 300 euro. The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of academic merit. Applicants should send a short letter of intent outlining how the candidate would benefit from the scholarship, together with their paper proposal and a letter of reference from a supervisor to Patrick.Lonergan@nuigalway.ie on or before 1 May 2014.

 

Publication of Papers

The conference organizers intend to publish an edited collection of essays based on a selection of the papers presented at the conference.

 

Organizing Committee

Nicholas Grene (TCD), Patrick Lonergan (NUI Galway), Ondřej Pilný (Charles University), Clare Wallace (Charles University).

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Urbanism, Precariousness and the ruins of Modernity in Beckett’s Not I.

Urbanism, Precariousness and the ruins of Modernity in Beckett’s Not I.

Conference Paper

The Irish Society for Theatre Research (ISTR)

University of Birkbeck, London 2013 

The growth of the urban landscape has been at the core of emerging modernity. Certainly post-world war modernism has had its impact on social spaces and the emergence of the cityscape as the utopian ideal. In this paper, I will argue that it is in the modern urban landscape that Beckett’s Not I resides. Corina Martin-Jordache notes that ‘Beckett’s cities seem to have gone a long way from the proud city-states of antiquity or the enlightened cities of the renaissance. They are the exhausted cities of the twentieth century modernity, post-Waste Land cities.’ (2002:366) But what of Becket’s plays? What of the theatrical space itself? Does it perform the same ‘urbanism’ or urban space as the descriptions of the cities in Molloy or Mercier and Camier that Martin-Jordache discusses.  Can the figures that populate Beckett’s theatrical landscape internalise the elements of modernity that form part of the cityscape and perform that urbanism?

In 1972 Samuel Beckett wrote Not I, a play designed (in Beckett’s words) to work on the ‘nerves of the audience’ rather than its intellect. It is a play that closes down the theatrical space where the focus is not on a figure or an actor onstage but on a body part, a mouth. The narrative is rushed, vaguely coherent and delivered in an anguished, prolonged torrent of words. I will examine the space that is evoked in Not I, and explore how it is essentially modernist and urban. It opens up a space that echoes the urbanism prevalent and in Mouth (its protagonist) creates a figure that embodies the precariousness of urban living. I want to examine how place is registered in Not I and what kind of place does it depict. How does the theatrical space of Not I relate to the modern landscape. How do spaces of interiority such as the theatre itself or the thought process evoked in Not I describe or link to these exterior places?

First staged in 1972, Not I consists of two characters though only one, the main protagonist known as Mouth (a body part) speaks. The second character, the auditor, which is frequently dropped from many stage productions (including a production Beckett himself directed) has four brief movements where he raises his arms in helpless compassion. The stage instructions call for a ‘Stage in darkness but for MOUTH, upstage audience right, about 8 feet above stage level, faintly lit from close-up and below, rest of face in shadow’. The text is circular in structure repeating much of the same imagery throughout. Although dense and barely coherent in places there is a narrative in the story that can be broken down into an introduction followed by four ‘movements’. Here is a link to  Billie Whitelaw’s performance filmed by the BBC in the 1973.

 

As Paul Lawley has noted the mouth has no form ‘in itself it is a no-thing, a “no matter” an absence.’(1983: 412) The introduction relates to the beginning of the narrator’s life (she is now nearly seventy years old) as the breathless and aggressive syntax tells us of her early childhood, ‘.…out…into this world…this world…tiny little thing…before its time…’(377) She had a traumatic upbringing, her parents having abandoned her almost immediately, ‘…parents unknown…unheard of…he having vanished…thin air…no sooner buttoned up his breeches…’ (377) Towards the end of the section she refers to an unspecified traumatic experience that happen on an April morning, ‘…when suddenly…gradually all went out…’(377) This experience is repeated in each of the following sections along with the exclamation, ‘…what?..who?..no!..she!…’. This vague catastrophe that occurs on an April morning is not expanded upon but its effect is detrimental on Mouth.

One of the most crucial points in this play is Mouth’s inability to accept that this traumatic experience is her own. The title refers to a negation of the self and throughout she insists on speaking in the third person, ‘not knowing what…what she was-…what?..no!..she!..SHE!’ The use of the third person reflects Mouth’s consistent evading of personal responsibility, of the self. It is only at the end of each segment that she is confronted with the inescapable realisation that it is she, herself that has experienced this, ‘…what?..Who?..No!..she!…’ ‘What?…’ she responds to a seemingly internal question, ‘…Who?..’ She appears to face the notion that this is indeed a personal experience, ‘…No!..’ she vehemently denies her involvement, ‘…she!…’ she again points to the third person and the cycle begins again. The result is a ceaseless performance from where neither the narrator or the audience can escape. Alec Reid noted that, ‘I knew with every fibre of my being that I had been deluged in a flood of anguish from which I could not escape even though I could not know with what or whom I was involved. My first words were, “I have been scoured.”’ (1986:14)

The flood of anguish that is emitted throughout the performance, the deliberately confined, closed down space of both actor and audience, the circular pattern with its endless cycle of futile repetition. Again, the question of how does Not I relate to the modern landscape. What kind of place does it depict? Brian Gratten in ‘The Posthumous Worlds of Not I and Play’ argues that we are in Mouth’s purgatorial world after she has died (in that vague catastrophe I mentioned earlier). Authors such as Katherine Kelly and Enoch Brater argue that we are, in fact, in Mouth’s head with the Auditor being another aspect of her psyche. Paul Lawley claims that none of this matters, the narrative, the trauma. What matters is the ‘magnetic’ (2012: 247) stage image:

It is unignorable, attracting the text to itself and thus insisting upon a present-tense dimension to the story. The text hovers in panic between a past other, of which and whom it can safely talk, and a present self…The counterpoint between stage and text enacts the play’s fundamental conflict: between the need to deny the imperfect self and to maintain, even in agony, a fictional other, and the wish for an oblivion that would come with the acknowledgement of the fragmented self.’ (2012: 247)

The key to Not I lies not in the narrative gushing forth but in the tensions that exist between Mouth’s denial of the self that has trapped her in this space, in the present-tense and her wish for oblivion which will come with an acceptance of the fragmented self.  How does a mouth on a stage transmit a ‘self’ awareness to an audience? It’s not a body, a whole body but a piece of a body. That stage image of the body fragmented. It is the tension that rests between she and I that exist on the stage for the audience. A stage that is for the most part dark.  Mouth has been described as orifice and her monologue described as purging, a bodily purging, a physical act. For the audience the blackness of the spaces around the mouth and the impression of the mouth as symbolic of all bodily orifices triggers in the words of Anna McMullan a ‘body…turned inside out, and continually recycled by the voice as waste material.’(2010:118) There is no presence, no body on stage that would form a traditional performance. What is being performed is the absence of a body. It’s interesting to link this idea with Daniel Dennett’s image of the ‘self’ as constructed through the material we gather in our environment. Self as a constant narrative devised as we make sense of the world around us,

we…do not consciously and deliberately figure out what narratives to tell and how to tell them; like spiderwebs, our tales are spun, but for the most part we don’t spin them; they spin us. Our human consciousness and our narrative selfhood is their product, not their source. (1991: 417-418)

If we are a product of a narrative generated from our surroundings then what space is surrounding the talking mouth in Not I? The places of memory she recounts existing as it does within the space of the theatre which is in itself surrounded by the urban environment. Elaine Scarry claims that for the effect on the audience is where

[o]ne seems to become disembodied either because one seems to have been transported hundreds of feet beyond the edges of the body out into the external world, or instead because the images of objects from the external world have themselves been carried into the interior of the body as perceptual content, and seem to reside there displacing the dense matter of the body itself. (1985: 165)

Mouth performs this very intersection, the melding of the internal and external world. Her anguished monologue certainly echoes the uncertainties associated with urban living. Moving through the city Walter Benjamin notes ‘involves the individual in a series of shocks and collisions. At dangerous crossings nervous impulses flow through him in rapid succession, like the energy in a battery.’ (1968:76) Is the energy, the ‘nervous impulses’ describing the movement through the urban space being performed or echoed in Mouth’s nervous energy? The experience of moving through the city is impossible given that Mouth is just that, a mouth but through her performance that external world is brought inside into the space of the auditorium. In a chapter, ‘Walking in the City’ Michel de Certeau argues that the urban space of the street emerges through the usage of the embodied person. In Rambling as Resistance, Jason Kosnoski challenges Michel de Certeau’s idea of walking in the city as a potentially radical act by suggesting that in our postmodern urban space where,

Individuals face more and more observation, control and discipline through both spatial and temporal strategies upon the body, yet the fragmentation of spaces, cities and regions ensure that individuals do not traverse the entirety of their environment with freedom or creativity. (2010:127-28)

This fragmentation of space is certainly echoed in Not I but is conducive to the creation of space. Could the theatrical space evokes in Not I be described as an urban environment, an urban landscape? The contemporary urban landscape contains within its geographical spaces the concerns that are prevalent in much of Beckett’s work: alienation, loneliness, paralysis. Yet the phrase ‘landscape’ itself is problematic. Cultural Geographer, John Wylie describes landscape as, ‘a tension between proximity and distance, body and mind, sensuous immersion and detached observation. Is landscape the world we are living in, or a scene we are looking at, from afar?’ (2007: 1) Raymond Williams argues that, ‘the very idea of landscape implies separation and observation.’ (1985:126) Something to be looked at from a distance, and something (in the same way scenery in a theatre might be) not to be interacted with. These tensions between the body and its environment, between being both immersed and outside the space is reflective not just of the audience in the theatrical space but in Mouth’s way of seeing herself. The traumatic event that has instigated her denial of identity has left her unable to place herself in the world.

She does, however describe the world, and it is in the form of a landscape. In his work, Landscape and Memory, Simon Schema notes that,

we are accustomed to separate nature and human perception into two realms, they are, in fact, indivisible. Before it can ever be a repose for the senses, landscape is the work of the mind. Its scenery is built up as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock. (1995, pp. 6–7)

Mouth’s memory of her environment features strongly in the monologue. She describes, ‘…wandering in a field…looking aimlessly for cowslips.’ She repeatedly likens a ray of light in her skull to one, ‘the moon might cast,’ ‘and all the this ray or beam…like moonbeam’ the site of her tramatic event which she returns to again and again, ‘back in the field…April morning…face in the grass…nothing but the larks.’ There are urban environments, ‘even shopping…out shopping….busy shopping centre…supermart….just hand in the list…with the bag…then stand there waiting…any length of time…middle of the throng’ She describes her home as ‘a little mound in Croker’s acres’ Schama argues that ‘it is our shaping perception that makes the difference between raw matter and landscape’ (1995:10) But although Mouth remembers the natural world, it is all descriptive. The images, that landscape is not reconstructed in the theatre either physically through the use of scenery or mentally. Again the narrative falls short in the fact of the overwhelming presence of the stage image. The performance exists in the present-tense and the landscape it evokes is also modern.

Rather than seeing the landscape from the traditional Western mode, that is objectively, from a rational or scientific perspective, something to be gazed upon, Mouth inhabits the landscape. Not the traditional landscape but a landscape of modernity, the twentieth century landscape with that clear binary of nature and culture. A binary, perhaps, that Mouth cannot overcome. Through the memories that she evokes in her monologue and her concrete engagement with the space of the stage, she exists in the throes of modernity. Circular rather than linear, one where the body in space is not articulated with the entire body but fragmented.  From the outside in, Beckett’ theatrical landscape internalises the elements of modernity that form the urban landscape and performs that urbanism in Not I.

Posted in Academic, Beckett, research, Theatre | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Performance Matters Theatre Discussion Group, Galway

Performance Matters Theatre Discussion Group, Galway

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call for Papers-New Voices NUI Galway 2014

Multi-Disciplinary Postgraduate and Early Career Scholars Conference Hosted by National University of Ireland, Galway – 5th to 7th June, 2014

After the first New Voices conference in 1999, P.J. Mathews published an edited collection of the speakers’ articles, New Voices in Irish Criticism. In the introduction, Mathews notes the text “can be taken as a snapshot of the current state of Irish studies.” The collection of articles presented reflect the work of the Irish academy at the end of the twentieth century as well as Mathews’ and Declan Kiberd’s joint efforts to showcase not only the new voices in Irish criticism but also the ways in which those scholars were challenging the boundaries of Irish criticism. In establishing this forum, Mathews and Kiberd emphasized the necessity for young scholars within the Irish academy to interact with one another, across universities and, most importantly, across disciplines.

More than ever it is important that early career scholars connect with their peers and future colleagues. The academic market is a challenging field, especially for young scholars. This conference seeks to establish an intellectual exchange that will only strengthen in the years to come.

In that vein, National University of Ireland, Galway will proudly host the 2014 New Voices conference. We invite papers from all departments and encourage collaborative papers, new media, and panel ideas. We also invite paper proposals from early career scholars outside of Ireland who focus on Irish Studies. The participants at the inaugural New Voices conference presented papers on far-reaching topics, from theorizing the novel to politics and revival. This year we seek papers that broaden what Irish Studies means, reflecting on the legacy of the New Voices conference and the themes and issues which continue to resonate in its subsequent iterations.

We welcome proposals for twenty-minute papers, in English or in Irish, from all disciplines in relation to Irish studies. We especially invite submissions which broaden definitions and push scholarly boundaries. Topics may include but are certainly not limited to:

Representations of the Irish Body

– The Irish Body in film/literature/art

– Irish Physicalities

-Trauma and the Body

Irish Modernisms

– Urbanity/Cosmopolitanism

– Modernity in 20th century Ireland

– Myth-making in Irish literature

– (Post)Modern (Post)Colonial Ireland

Ireland and Place

– The landscape of Ireland

– The seascape around Ireland

Comparative Ireland

– Interdisciplinarity in Irish Studies

– Inter/Trans-National Irishness

Hidden Narratives

– The Irish in Europe

– The role of Ireland in the World Wars

– Cultural Memory

Literature

– Ireland and Eco-criticism

– Urban versus Pastoral

– Centre and the Peripheral/Borderlands

Alternative Cultures

– Marginalised narratives

– ‘Queerness’ in Irish literature

– Masculinites/Femininities

– Race and ‘Otherness’ in Ireland

– Ireland and the Diaspora

Performing Ireland

– (Re)Presentationa of Identity

– Global Performances/Perspectives

Deadline for abstracts: 31 January, 2014

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to newvoices2014@nuigalway.ie. Please also include affiliation and a short biography (no more than 50 words). If you have any other questions, feel free to email us.

Confirmed Plenary Speakers:

Nessa Cronin, National University of Ireland, Galway
Oona Frawley, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Declan Kiberd, University of Notre Dame
PJ Matthews, University College Dublin
Lionel Pilkington, National University of Ireland, Galway

Conference Website

We would like to gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the NUI Galway community. The New Voices Conference 2014 is sponsored by the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities & Social Studies, the College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies, the Discipline of English Studies, the Center for Drama and Theatre Studies, the School of Humanities, the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, the Center for Irish Studies, the School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, the Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, and the NUI Galway Millennium Fund.

Posted in Academic, Conference, Graduate, Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CFP: Staging Beckett: Constructing Performance Histories

Conference Call For Papers


Staging Beckett: Constructing Performance Histories

Minghella Building, University of Reading 4-5 April 2014

Staging Beckett is a three year research collaboration between the universities of Chester, Reading, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project started in September 2012, and is exploring the impact of productions of Beckett’s plays on British and Irish theatre practice and cultures while also looking at how Beckett has been staged internationally. It is compiling a database of professional productions of Beckett’s plays in the UK and Ireland.

The project’s first conference (4-5April 2014) will focus on the history, documentation and analysis of Beckett’s theatre in performance: while Beckett’s directing practice has been much discussed, and critical attention has been paid to selected premiere productions (the French, British, Irish or US premieres of Godot, for example), or ‘deviant’ productions such as the 1984 American Repertory Theatre production of Endgame, there is a great deal of work to be done in researching the diversity of productions of Beckett’s theatre in the UK, Ireland and internationally. Questions we are asking include:

  • How did approaches to staging Beckett’s theatre change from the 1950s to the twenty-first century?
  • Have there been distinct approaches to staging Beckett at particular moments and in particular theatre cultures?
  • How have productions of Beckett’s plays commented on or reflected wider political / economic contexts?
  • What kinds of dialogues can we trace between productions of Beckett’s plays and local, national or international theatre histories?
  • Can we trace cross-influences in approaches to staging Beckett across productions?
  • What can particular case studies of individual or comparative productions contribute to constructing performance histories of Beckett’s theatre?
  • How can future performance practice of Beckett’s theatre be informed or inspired by previous productions?
  • We are also interested in methodological issues around Beckett, performance and the archive, and around Beckett, performance and the digital.

We are keen to hear from academics and practitioners (whether UK, Irish or international) interested in the legacies of particular performances, the documentation and analysis of Beckett in performance, and in the dialogues between productions of Beckett’s theatre and wider theatre practices and cultural / political contexts. Issues to consider might be, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How particular directors / performers have approached staging Beckett
  • How particular economic, funding, and / or political contexts have influenced productions of Beckett’s plays
  • Beckett and stage design / scenography
  • Technical innovation in productions of Beckett
  • ‘Deviant’ productions (i.e. that have flouted Beckett’s stage directions)
  • Productions that were planned and didn’t happen (refused permission, for example)
  • Beckett and particular local, national or international theatre cultures
  • The ‘festivalisation’ of Beckett
  • International touring productions to the UK and Ireland
  • UK and Irish productions that have toured (such as Dublin Gate Beckett Festival)
  • Digital archives of Beckett in performance / Beckett performance on the web

Please send proposals of c. 150 words to Anna McMullan (a.e.mcmullan@reading.ac.uk) by Friday 13th December 2013.

Informal enquiries can be sent to Anna at the above email address, or to Graham Saunders (g.saunders@reading.ac.uk) or Trish McTighe (p.mctighe@reading.ac.uk).

Future Staging Beckett conferences are: Staging Beckett in the Regions (University of Chester, September 2014), and Beckett and Theatre and Performance Cultures (University of Reading, April 2015).

Staging Beckett team: Matthew McFrederick (Reading) Anna McMullan (Reading), Trish McTighe (Reading) David Pattie (Chester), Graham Saunders (Reading) David Tucker (Chester).

Posted in Beckett, Conference | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Irish Postgraduate Film Research Seminar 2014

Irish Postgraduate Film Research Seminar 2014
9-10 May 2014, Trinity College Dublin

The 10th Irish Postgraduate Film Research
Seminar will take place at Trinity College
Dublin on 9-10 May 2014.

The seminar is aimed at researchers in
film and in screen culture in the broadest
sense, which includes fields such as
television, digital media, networks,
transmedia, technoculture, and gaming.
It is designed to provide a platform for
the presentation of new research by scholars in Irish third-level institutions, and
for those working on Irish topics in non-Irish universities and colleges.

The seminar promotes the exchange of ideas and helps students in the
advancement of their academic profiles. To these ends, plans are being
made for an online publication, Proceedings of the Irish Film Seminar, which
will contain short versions of the papers presented. To mark the 10th
anniversary of the IPGFRS, we are also planning an online index/archive of all
the previous presentations that have been made since 2003.

The keynote speaker will be Patrick Crogan of the University of the West of
England. Dr. Crogan is at the forefront of research in digital cultures,
technoculture, gaming, military robotics, and the work of Bernard Stiegler. His
2011 publication Gameplay Mode (University of Minnesota Press) examines
the connections between contemporary computer games and the
technoscience of the military-industrial complex since the 1940s.

Presentations are invited from:
(a) Irish postgraduate students working on screen studies research;
(b) postgraduate students working on Irish screen studies projects in non-Irish
universities;
(c) post-doctoral students who have completed their degree on an Irish
screen studies topic in the two years prior to the conference date.

Those wishing to make a presentation are invited to submit an abstract of no
more than 250 words, plus a short CV and summary of research interests by
20 December 2013. Postgraduate research students who may not be making
presentations and screen studies academics are encouraged to attend.
There is no charge for attendance. Presentations will be 20 minutes in length.
Non-traditional presentation formats will also be considered.

To record your interest in the seminar or to be included in future mailings, send
your contact address, details of your academic institution, and an outline of
your research topic, to the conference organiser, Dr. Cormac Deane, Irish
Research Council Fellow, Film Studies, School of Drama, Film & Music, Trinity
College Dublin: cormac.s.deane@tcd.ie.

Posted in Conference | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morning in the Alpes

Morning in the Alpes

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Galway, West of Ireland.

Galway, West of Ireland.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Cheshire Cat

 

Posted in Colour, Instagram, Ireland, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment